Rich Franklin may have added the initials ‘V.P.’ to the start of his name since taking on the job as Vice President of Singapore MMA promotion ONE FC, but it doesn’t mean that Rich isn’t still a UFC fighter. In fact, he still has one last fight remaining on his contract. And We wouldn’t be MMA fans if we didn’t speculate over all the possible opponents for Rich, and who he might share his final octagon dance with, before riding off into the sunset for greener, freshly squeezed, juice filled, pastures. Rather than just guess, or try out our sub-par mind reading skills, we decided to ask “Ace” himself when he stopped by the show.
The former three time UFC Middleweight champion made his second appearance on Submission Radio to chat about all things, from ONE FC, to fighting Bruce Lee, doing a Metamoris event, Chris Weidman, PED’s in MMA, getting hit by Chuck Liddell, and of course where he stands on his last UFC fight.
If we’re any closer to knowing anything about when Franklin chooses to get back into the Octagon
“No, not yet. I’m really acclimating to this job right now. It’s a decision that I’ll have to make real soon, and I really need to sit down with the people at ONE FC and talk about that. Like the reality of – because I have some responsibilities here, and I’m travelling, I’m travelling quite a bit back and forth between and State and Asia now – and with the reality is with me continuing with my responsibilities with ONE FC, and then also prepping for a fight and all that kind of stuff. And I’ll have to sit down with them real soon and talk with them about that. Because I’m getting at a point now where I need to pull the trigger on that last fight, because I’m so far distanced from my previous fight, that basically if I’m gonna do something I need to do it now”
If Rich expects a big start over process due to his long layoff from fighting
“I’m sure, which is why I wouldn’t except a fight and just go straight into like fight training and prepping for my opponent. There would be some time where I acclimate back into training and, it’s not that I’m not training. Man, I mean I train, basically every day I do something. But there’s a difference between what I would call recreational training, and prepping for an opponent.”
Possibility of seeing ONE FC join UFC fight pass
“I don’t really know. I don’t know if they’ll follow the same plan as the UFC is, because the nature of ONE FC, like their whole business plan is different. The concept of PPV over here in Asia is not really the same as it is here in the US. And so all the ONE FC’s, they’re broadcast live on like, star sports or ESPN and things like that, and they don’t depend on their PPV sales in order to make their revenue.”
Thoughts on Chris Weidman’s last fight
“I made a prediction on my social media that Weidman would win that. And I didn’t actually watch the fight, I wasn’t sure I was travelling somewhere. And so I read about it and caught some highlights later. But, I thought Weidman would win that fight, only because after the first Anderson Silva fight, like there was a lot people that thought that maybe it’s a fluke, Anderson got caught, maybe Anderson underestimated him, blah blah blah, whatever, these kinds of things happen. But then you look at the second fight, now of course the fight got stopped due to injury, but prior to that you could see Weidman was controlling the fight, he was controlling the pace. And what really impresses me about him is that he’s very patient as a fighter. Like, he’s very patient and through his patience he’s able to make his game plan unfold, which is something that Machida is really good at. But Anderson and Lyoto, they have that similar style, that kind of like sit back in the pocket, counter punch, depend on the timing. Lyoto does a really good job of sucking you into his game, because he’s a very patient fighter, but Weidman didn’t let that happen with Anderson. So I kinda figured that he would have Lyoto’s number and that’s what ended up happening.”
“I’m a believer (in Weidman). I’m a believer, I think that there are people that are still out there questioning whether or not, you know Weidman’s legit, or if there was some fluke wins, but I’m a believer in Weidman, and I think he’s gonna make a great a champion. So I think he’ll be around for a while.”
On issues with PED’s in the UFC
“Listen, TRT and all that kind of stuff, you really need to take a step back, and before you get into these fighters, you need to look at the situation the sport got into. You know, there was a time when we started talking about TRT, and allowing this, and not allowing it, and basically the athletic commission decided that they were gonna allow the fighters to use it, and they thought that they could regulate it. Well, you know how things go. You give somebody an inch, and their gonna take a mile, and that’s what happened. So you know, once you allow these kinds of things to happen, you’re just setting yourself up for problems. And I think that, that’s basically what ended up happening. So now the UFC as an organization has to kind of back paddle, and they have to say ‘well, we’re just gonna have a zero tolerance policy with this.”
“It’s gonna be difficult, I’ve spoken about this before. This is going to be a very, very difficult thing for the Athletic commissions and the UFC to regulate, because you’re going into different countries now. You know, in the United States, things are set up. Like, you have your analysis facilities and all that kind of stuff, and not to say that people can’t be crooked, but it’s a lot easier to be crooked when you’re getting your analysis done in a place like Brazil; where there may not be as much regulations and stuff like that, where a fighter can go in and have somebody possibly pee for him, or even the doctor at the analysis place. Like, you don’t know what kind of practices are going on in different countries.”
On learning that past opponents Vitor Belfort, Wanderlei Silva and potential opponent Chael Sonnen had issues with testing and PED’s
“Naturally when you read about something like that, I mean your first thought is, ‘well I wonder. I wonder if that was the case when I was fighting?’. Because, from the inception of this sport on to modern day today, like there are gonna be people that, once they start testing they know how to beat the system. And then when they have more strenuous testing, people have better ways of beating the system, and you see it in other sports. You see things in baseball where all of a sudden a baseball player gets caught, and I would imagine that the fans’ initial reaction was, a fan would say ‘why would this baseball player do this knowing that they’re doing all this testing now, and they could get caught?’. Well the reason why is because things like this, they never stop. People just figure out ways to beat the system. They know how to like step down chemicals, or use masking agents, or do whatever it is that they’re doing, so they figured out ways to beat the system. And so it will always be a problem. I mean that’s what ends up happening, any system is like that”
“Yeah, you start thinking ‘was that the case when we were fighting?’. And what is, what was, what could have been, what may have been, there was no positive test at the time, so I’m not gonna sit here and kill myself and wondering, but yeah the thought crosses your mind.”
If Rich could fight anyone past or present
“I would like to fight Bruce Lee. You know, Bruce was such a pioneer of MMA. He’s been titled the father of MMA because of his philosophy of his martial arts systems. And there’s not a lot of documented combat of his, so it would have been interesting to just kind of play that round with somebody like that.”
On possibly doing a Metamoris Event
“I don’t know, probably not. I’ve never really been excited about grappling events, and I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t had much success with them either. I’ve done one grappling event in my life, and I got smoked bad. I’d only been training for like three months, but I grappled a guy that had been grappling for over a year, and he basically tried a flying armbar, that transitioned into a triangle, back to an armbar, back to a triangle. This was every bit of about thirty five seconds, and it was bad news for me. I’ll tell you this much, my grappling style is very MMA oriented, I’m all about positioning and being able to strike. And honestly, I don’t have like a really, really, really slick submission game. And so I don’t know if just out-positioning somebody and looking for points and winning and stuff like that, make for, it’s almost disrespectful to the art of grappling.”
On who hit Rich the hardest
“I have two people that hit me the hardest, and one was before I was in the UFC. I fought a guy by the name of Aaron Brink, and I was sick for that fight. I had over a hundred and four fever, and I just remember this guy came out and hit me right off the bat. And it snapped my head so far back that I was looking at the ceiling staring at the light fixtures. But I tell ya, I think the hardest person that’s ever hit me in my career was probably Chuck (Liddell). Chuck had very, very heavy hands. And just every time he would hit me with something – I mean he kicked me and broke my arm – so every time he hit me, it just felt like he was like swinging a sledgehammer, crashing into my body, hitting me in the face or whatever. So definitely Chuck.”
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